The State of Global Early Career Hiring 2024: Key insights and practical tips

June 6th, 2024
The HireVue Team

Early career talent is unique. These candidates are just starting out on their job search and have a career of limitless potential in front of them. 

But with macroeconomic factors biting hard, “rearview HR” processes creaking at the seams, and the emergence of new technologies—it is a complex landscape. 

In a first of its kind report, derived through industry body data from The Institute of Student Employers, The National Association of Colleges and Employers, and The Australian Association of Graduate Employers, we analyzed independent survey data from around the globe and three clear trends stood out: 

  • Assessing skills is becoming the dominant approach for early career talent 
  • Hiring teams are relying less and less on past experience or GPA 
  • AI is growing as a tool used by students and recruiters in the hiring process

Let’s take a deeper dive on each of these trends, allowing early careers leaders to benchmark their progress, identify opportunities for improvement, and learn some best practices from industry experts.

1.  The Global Graduate Recruitment Outlook

  • The early careers job market is holding strong with traditional industries showing the most resilience
  • The number of applications per role continues to rise around the globe
  • Renege and disengagement rates remain an issue for employers

Early career roles are forecast to grow by a rate of 5% in 2023/2024 in the UK. Despite a cooling jobs market and economic uncertainty, graduate vacancies grew 6% in 2022/23 in the UK, which was higher than predicted (2%) (ISE Student Recruitment Report 2023).

The 2024 job outlook for the U.S. shows overall hiring is projected to dip by 1.9%. However, it is important to note that this is down from the last two years, when the college job market experienced brisk growth that, in 2022, reached record levels (NACE Job Outlook 2024).

Australian employers experienced a 6% increase in the number of graduate roles in their programs in 2024 compared to 2023 (AAGE Employer Survey 2024) and demand for early career programs as a source of talent remains strong.

The Industrial/Organizational Psychologists Vue

“The hiring landscape has changed for the foreseeable future. Market data from around the globe proves that labor shortages are the new normal and are here to stay for the major world economies. Compounding this is the fact baby-boomers are aging out of the workforce and the skills required to perform jobs are changing every year, mainly driven by technology. There will be approximately 100 million new jobs in the next 5 years and we don’t even know what they will look like yet. 

All of this means that employers need to open up the aperture and hire based on the potential a candidate has to operate in a changing environment, rather than hiring based on previous experiences, which is becoming increasingly less relevant. It’s the talent with the ability to learn, grow and adapt that will set organizations up for success going forward.”


— Dr Nathan Mondragon Ph.D., Chief IO Psychologist, HireVue

2. A Global Shift to Skills

  • A clear movement towards hiring based on specific hard and soft skills
  • Communication and teamwork are the soft skills sought after globally
  • The most common technical skills being assessed for are digital and IT

In the U.S. less than 40% of employers reported that they are screening candidates by GPA this year. It indicates the weight employers now place on skills and competencies. The top-rated career readiness competencies continue to be communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills (NACE Job Outlook 2024).

54% of UK employers expect to move to a recruitment approach that focuses on evaluating candidates based on their skills, rather than on their education or past work experience. The top in demand technical skills include IT/digital, accounting and engineering. IT and digital skills were also forecast to become increasingly more in demand over the next five years (ISE Student Recruitment Report 2023).

Only 30% of Australian employers in 2024 stated they felt examination results were “very important” or “quite important” to assess during the selection process, down from 38% in 2022. Australian employers are also embracing early career programs such as apprenticeships and cadetships (6% increase in 2024) as pipelines for talent that sit alongside their graduate and intern programs. (2024 AAGE Employer Survey).

The Practitioner’s Vue

Flutter Entertainment plc is an international sports betting and gambling company, including brands such as FanDuel, Paddy Power, and Sportsbet. They wanted to create a skills-based and streamlined hiring process that gives every single candidate a fair opportunity to apply. 


Flutter moved away from resumes and now invites every candidate to a first stage assessment based on skills and behaviors. This has reduced time to hire by almost 50%, improved retention and created a stronger candidate experience.


Flutter integrates Games-Based Assessments and Video Interviewing solutions with Workday Recruiting for a range of high-volume retail roles, including early careers. Watch their story below.

3. Global Recruitment Resourcing

  • There are fewer or the same number of recruiters to handle increasing applications
  • Recruitment cycle length remains long and is increasing in the U.S. and UK
  • Renege and disengagement rates are increasing globally

Recruitment departments are feeling the squeeze. U.S. employers said they had 7.2 recruiters in 2023, that’s down from 9.0 reported in the 2022 survey. The average number of days between the candidate’s first interview and getting a job offer, or being notified they were not being considered, rose to 25.1 (NACE Recruiting Benchmark Reports 2023).

In the UK, graduate applications per vacancy increased through 2023, up significantly by 38%, suggesting that recruitment teams are being asked to do more with less resources. 45% of the respondents expected that most of their recruitment will be conducted fully online in the next five years and they would increasingly automate the process of student recruitment (ISE Student Recruitment Report 2023).

Employers in Australia are focusing heavily on shortening their processes to get offers out in a competitive market, whilst still maintaining candidate care and keeping candidates engaged post offer. This has helped to increase the number of employers with a recruitment process that takes 2 months or less by 7%, compared to the 2023 Employer Survey (2024 AAGE Employer Survey).

UK employers reported that 23% of their candidates withdrew or disengaged during the recruitment process (ISE Student Recruitment Report 2023). In the U.S. the rate at which offers are being accepted dropped from 73.6% in last year’s report to 69.3% (2023 NACE Recruiting Benchmarks Report). Rates are holding steady in Australia with 17% of candidates reneging. (2024 AAGE Employer Survey).

The Practitioner’s Vue

MinterEllison is a top-tier multinational Law firm based in Australia. They have a vision of recruiting diverse, high caliber and high performing individuals – for every role. Previously they had a traditional, lengthy and manual early careers hiring process, but they wanted to improve the experience of both candidates and recruiters. 

They streamlined and simplified their process using Games-Based Assessments and Video Interviewing solutions integrated with SAP SuccessFactors. This enables them to differentiate between candidates and allows graduates to tell their full story. 

MinterEllison is now able to see 300% more candidates and have saved thousands of hours in recruiting time. Watch their story below.

4. The Global Acceptance of AI

  • AI is cautiously being adopted in the hiring process and its use is gathering pace
  • Speed, efficiency and productivity are the most common use cases for AI at present
  • Employers are still keen to maintain a human element in the recruitment process

The adoption rate of AI varies across sectors in the UK. Sector-based analysis highlighted that the Energy, Engineering, & Industry sectors used AI the most at 45%. This was closely followed by the Retail, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, & Tourism sector and the Built Environment sector, both registering 40% adoption (ISE Student Recruitment Report 2023).

83% of U.S. employers reported that using AI increased speed and efficiency in the recruitment process, increased the ability to analyze large volumes of data (64%) and allowed them to automate repetitive tasks (59%) (2023 NACE: A look at current practice among career services professionals).

There is a slightly different picture in Australia with just 16% of organizations currently using AI as part of their recruitment process. Those that are using it are mainly using it for screening applications, psychometric assessments and screening video interviews (37%) (2024 AAGE Employer Survey).

The Practitioner’s Vue

Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drink corporation, it has been the largest publicly held food company in the world since 2014. Nestlé wanted to create a more streamlined and structured process that enabled them to move away from traditional recruitment practices.

Nestlé implemented AI-enabled Video Interviewing, Games-Based Assessments, and an SAP SuccessFactors integration for hiring across a range of roles. The candidates that were hired matched the profiles that were ranked highest by the AI-enabled recruitment solutions, demonstrating a positive correlation. 

Nestlé can now hire in a more efficient and objective way and has also reduced their time to hire by 10 days. Watch their story below.